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December 7, 2005

Disease Control

I recently read an article in the Pioneer Press regarding the Web-based National Data Electronic Surveillance System. This system tracks infectious diseases and also serves as a communication center as states can interact with one another on these issues. Minnesota is currently one of 23 states that does not yet use this system (Pioneer Press). The states without this system could experience “serious delays in identifying and responding to disease outbreaks� according to the report from the Trust for America's Health. When a serious health problem has occurred I believe that a system like this one is not only necessary, but should be required by states to have. "You can't have something happen at the border of Minnesota, and Wisconsin doesn't know about it because (their reporting systems) can't communicate," said Shelley Hearne, the executive director of this surveillance system (Pioneer Press). I think this point should be taken very seriously and is the main reason why we, as a state, should not compromise on this matter.

Currently there are mixed feelings about whether or not this system is immediately needed for our state. "I would still put our surveillance system … up against any other state," said Aggie Leitheiser, director of the state Health Department's office of emergency preparedness (Pioneer Press). Aggie makes a strong point here, but I believe she doesn’t address the main matter at hand, which is state-to-state communication. Our current system may do an adequate job of reporting things to the government, but the fact of the matter is that the states surrounding us are the ones most immediately affected, and they need to know as soon as possible.
I feel that the Web-based National Data Electronic Surveillance System is one that needs to be acquired as soon as possible by the state of Minnesota. With current scares like the avian flu coming into the picture, an immediate form of communication between states is essential. Minnesota needs to adopt this system before any unforeseen breakouts spread to other areas, when a system like this one could prevent this from happening.

Posted by at December 7, 2005 8:56 PM | 7. Humans, Knowledge, and Technology